Now that we've had nine posts on the Holy Spirit (that's a good number, right?), take a moment to quiet yourself and watch this video.
This post is about praying with the Holy Spirit, for as St. Paul tells the Romans, "The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with sighs too deep for words" (Romans 8:26).
Remember, our relationship with the Holy Spirit is really about surrender. How often do we actually apply this to our prayer lives? So many times we simply read a laundry list of petitions to God, without stopping to be thankful, to be quiet, to surrender. It is here in our surrender that the Holy Spirit takes our weakness and distractions and "intercedes with sighs too deep for words." I love the song and video above because I feel as though the musicians' surrender is visible in the way they praise him.
Even the lyrics are simple repetitions of a wholeheartedly surrender and invitation to God. Here are some practical applications for inviting the Holy Spirit into various forms of prayer that you can use immediately:
If you find prayer difficult, try asking the Holy Spirit to come and fill your heart when you start. Praise God and thank Him for the blessings He's given you, and then try listening. Practice having a disposition that is open to God's will and whatever He may want to move in you. You can gradually the length of time you are in silence to help.
You can also call upon the Holy Spirit before reading and praying with Scripture. Open to a passage and ask him to show you something in particular. What jumps out to you? How can you apply it to your life? Ask the Spirit to give you the graces to persevere in that application. We believe that scriptures are the Living Word of God, and part of that "living"‐ness is the way that the Holy Spirit moves in us as we read them over and over again.
We can read the same words but gain something new from them each time! Ask the Spirit to stir your heart in the way he desires. If you are in a difficult situation with your family or a friend, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your words and actions. What is it that the Lord is asking of you in a particular moment? Ask for courage, light, and truth. Ask him to shed light on the situation, to show you the best course of action, to help you see Christ in others.
Sometimes people come to us to talk. They need advice, or they are going through a difficult time. I'm sure we have been the ones looking for comfort from others at times. But when it happens to us, we can often feel inadequate. This is a great time to pray, "Come, Holy Spirit!" and ask that he speaks to that person through you. Ask that your words may be a reflection of God, that they may console others in a way that brings them closer to Jesus.
If you feel prompted, perhaps even ask the person if you can pray with or for them, and do your best to follow the Holy Spirit in sharing God's hope, love, and goodness with them. And perhaps the most important way in which we pray with the Holy Spirit is with our praise of God! Many of us are uncomfortable with freely praising God out loud, whether by ourselves or with others.
But the more you practice and ask the Holy Spirit to remove all anxiety and fear, the more freedom you will find in prayer. We are ALL called to praise and thank God every day, whether through silent or vocal prayer, and regardless of whether there's music involved. So how can you find more time to praise him?
What obstacles do you need to overcome to praise him more freely? Have you asked the Holy Spirit for help doing this?
Come Holy Spirit, enlighten my heart, that I may see the things that are of God.
Come Holy Spirit, into my mind that I may know the things that are of God.
Come Holy Spirit, into my soul, that I may belong only to God.
Sanctify all that I think, say, and do, that all may be for the glory of God.